Friday, April 29, 2011

Drying in the Sun

"Seizing my life in your hands, you thrashed it clean
On the savage rocks of Eternal Mind.
How its colours bled, until they grew white!
You smile and sit back; I dry in your sun." 

--Rumi, from Daily Om's A Year of Rumi course

This is not the post I was planning to share today, but that one still needs a little ruminating, so I am substituting with a little Rumi.

I have signed up for the Daily Om's course A Year of Rumi and I am really enjoying it. Some of the poems I do not understand AT ALL, while others really speak to me.

Like this one. It feels like what life does to each of us every day and like what it might feel like once our colors bleed out until they turn white and we become enlightened, drying in The Universe's sun.

I look forward to that moment.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


"...[N]ot getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck."  

--The Dalai Lama

I have been on an Eli Stone jag as of late. After finishing the first season, I started trolling the internet for comments and commentary from other Eli fans and came across a site that purported to have the inside scoop on what would have happened had the show made it beyond a second season. 

The news, my friends, was not good. 

For those of you not familiar with Eli Stone, let me bring you up to speed: Eli Stone was a two-season comedic drama about a young lawyer who has it all - a successful career as a corporate lawyer, a hot car and a beautiful fiancé - when he starts having visions (many of them starring George Michael). 

These visions tell him what cases to take and how to win them. But these aren't the cases he is used to trying. The force behind these visions has a different plan for Eli and he is now the champion of the little guy, the underdog, the people being hurt by the corporate giants he formerly defended.

[SPOILER ALERT: If you have not seen the show yet, click on over to Netflix or Hulu and start streaming before you read on....the following blog entry contains information you will not want to know if you plan to watch the show.]

When I first started watching it, this show blew me away. It was the first time that The Universe or God had been handled in such a way on TV. Usually God is handled in one of two ways - completely traditionally with church and prayer or avoided altogether - Eli Stone's vision of God was unique in the history of television, at least television as I knew it. 

And I was hooked. 

Unfortunately, not enough other people were and the show was canceled after only two seasons. 

Luckily for us faithful viewers, the producers of the show knew that it was going to be canceled and were able to do a quick "wrap up" in the final episode, uniting Eli with his soul mate, and fellow attorney with a conscience, Maggie Decker. 

In an earlier episode Eli had witnessed a scene ten years in the future featuring him and Maggie and their newborn baby. It was confirmation for him, and for us, that what we hoped was true - he and Maggie were destined to be together, someday, somehow. 


In this interview with the creator of the show he reveals where he was planning to take the show and - WHAT!?!?! - it was not his plan for Eli and Maggie to end up together. In fact, Maggie ends up with Eli's brother Nate (who has already dated the woman Eli lost his virginity to), and Eli ends up....DEAD??? 

He doesn't come right out and say it, but implies that eventually the plan was to kill off Eli.

I know that this is just a television show, but it brought to mind this quote and made me grateful that the show was canceled after only two seasons. The show's faithful viewers got our happy ending and so did Eli and Maggie.

It also reminded me of a certain Buddhist fable, sometimes called, "Maybe." It goes something like this:

Once upon the time there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.

“Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.

“Maybe,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.

“Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

“Maybe,” said the farmer

 (I got this version from

As on television, so it is in life: you just never know what comes next. Maybe the way things ARE is the way they are meant to be. The way you would want them to be even, given 20/20 hindsight. 

Maybe NOT getting what you (thought) you wanted, is a brilliant stroke of luck. Maybe.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Back to Nature

"N_A_T_U_R_E_’_S    L_A_W
A ctivity - Exercise every 2 days
T ime - for me = reduce stress
U se - the “Attitude of Gratitude”
R est - Detox happens 10 p.m. – 2 a.m., dark, quiet, enough time
E at - Low glycemic, use pharmaceutical quality vitamins
S unshine - Check Vitamin D level
L ove - Myself. Laugh, fun, balance
A ir - Oxygen, Open windows
W ater - Half my weight in ounces every day
Follow all 10 and miracles happen!"
--From the International Woman's Day flier on

After a weekend full of chocolate bunnies, peanut M&Ms, and jelly beans, I feel the need to recommit myself to good health and clean living. 

I'm not an ascetic by any means, and keep a stash of chocolate on hand at all times, but after a holiday such as Easter, which seems committed to getting - and consuming - as much candy as possible I always ask myself, "Is this really how I want to show LOVE to my kids, by giving them more candy and sugar than they could - certainly should - eat in a month all in one day?"

Last night I had a parenting fantasy whereby I threw out all of the candy and for the rest of the week served my kids nothing but raw, organic fruits and veggies, which they gobbled up by the handful as if they were candy. 

I don't see this happening for real, but what is the answer? I want them to learn to receive with gratitude and to appreciate the delicious things that life has to offer, but I also want them to learn how to take care of their bodies, to feed them well and to deny them what they may want, but may not be good for them. 

I guess the key word here is learning. 

My kids are learning - sometimes through lecture, sometimes through experimentation, sometimes through trial and error - how to take care of their bodies. It is a lesson I am still learning for myself. And since our bodies are always changing, these are lessons we have to learn over and over again. 

This mnemonic device may not be the answer for everyone, but it seems to me to be a pretty good place to start. Everything on this list is worth considering on the path to better health.

Here's to a happy - and HEALTHY - Monday!

Friday, April 22, 2011


“There will be no correct clothes
There will be no proper payment
There will be no right answers
No glorified teachers
No ego no script no pedestals
No you're not good enough or rich enough
This yoga is for everyone
This sweating and breathing and becoming
This knowing glowing feeling
Is for the big small weak and strong
Able and crazy
Brothers sisters grandmothers
The mighty and meek
Bones that creak
Those who seek
This power is for everyone.” 

--From the Yoga to the People homepage

I went to hot yoga tonight after more than four weeks off. I was worried that what little stamina I had built up during the two or three weeks I was going consistently would be gone. 

Surprisingly I felt better than ever, despite the fact that it was a night class and I was tired (and so tempted to skip it to watch reruns of Eli Stone).

I love this yoga for so many reasons. Because it pushes me beyond my comfort level. Because it works my mind as much as it works my body. Because of how I feel when it is all over.

Here are three stories from yoga that I would like to share with you:

Yoga Story #1

The last yoga class I went to before my trip to Paris I was one of three women in the room. Both were older than me, in their early sixties I would guess.

The first woman was fit and trim and looked like a marathon runner. She was quiet and kept to herself while dressing for class. The second woman was overweight and looked like a grandma. While we dressed for class she chatted with me about her yoga blog and how much she hated this yoga studio. The teachers were inexperienced, the room was too hot, it was nothing like HER yoga studio in another part of the city.

I wondered, but didn't ask, what the heck she was doing here given all of that, but I didn't say anything to refute or defend the teacher or the studio. I just listened and then went into the yoga studio determined to have a good experience despite her opinions.

As we moved into the first postures of the class it became apparent that woman number two was not having a good experience. She was stopping to rest, taking child's pose and breathing heavily. 

Whenever the teacher tried to assist her she refused the advice, letting us all know that she has been taking yoga for MONTHS and knew what it was supposed to be like and this was NOT it. The room was too hot, too humid, too something and her body was not used to it, liking it, or able to handle it.

Mid-way through the class she left in a huff, never to return.

After class I went up to the teacher and said, “Don't worry about her, she had the experience she wanted to have.” The teacher said, "Thanks," and that she knew that was true.

I walked into the dressing room feeling a little bit disappointed in myself. I had resisted taking the first woman's side against the teacher, but I had been unable to resist taking the teacher's side against the recalcitrant student. I had to admit to myself that I took a little glee in her inability to stay in the room after her rant in the dressing room and was happy to share that feeling with the teacher.

Yoga Story #2

Today's class was a whole different ballgame.

A night class, it was practically full when I got there ten minutes before the start of class. Twice we had to shift our mats over to make room for new students. We were practically hip to hip and toe to toe with one another in a VERY hot room. It was more than a little bit uncomfortable.

It was particularly uncomfortable because the majority of the students in the room looked as if they were from the local college and were MUCH younger than myself. This did not lend confidence to my feeling of being ill-prepared after such a long absence from class.

Nonetheless, I steeled myself and walked into the room, looking for a spot.

Two nice girls moved over and made a place for me, no doubt thinking that being parked next to me was going to make them look good. Or that's what I was thinking anyway.

A few minutes into class I realized that this was not necessarily the case. Not only was I feeling stronger and more flexible than I remembered or imagined, I had one thing going for me that these girls did not. Age.

At the beginning of every class they instruct you to work to your level, to find your own eyes in the mirror and to meditate on your experience only, not looking around the room, not comparing, not trying to best someone else's poses. I decided that would be my only goal for the night: to find my own eyes and keep them there.

I managed to do this pretty well, although I did look around peripherally while gazing straight ahead. What I saw was a bunch of twenty-somethings trying to keep up with each other.

In standing head to knee pose (Dandayamana-Janushirasana) you stand firm on one leg, keeping it perfectly straight and locked while you bend the other leg and hold your foot in your hands. The idea is to keep your second leg bent as long as your first leg (the one standing strong on the ground) is shaky or wobbly. You hold this pose for a full minute before shifting to the other leg. It is not easy.

In fact, it is damn hard. My standing leg was moving and grooving, shaking and wobbling, but I managed to stand on it for the full minute. 

As I looked around in the mirror I saw twenty-something girls who had fallen off of their standing leg move right back into the pose and right back into the more advanced position (in this position you kick out your bent leg until it is parallel to the floor, making the standing leg all the more unsteady), from which they fell again.

I felt great compassion for them because I knew that in my twenties I was that girl. The girl who was SO strong and SO flexible and SO well, let's just say it, COOL that I would do the most difficult iteration of any pose even if my body was screaming at me not to.

I started to feel good about myself. Downright proud really, for being comfortable with who I am and where I am.

From there it was just a small hop, skip and a jump to: "Wow, check me out, I am kicking these twenty-something girls' butts. I am the yoga QUEEN. I ROCK. CHECK ME OUT."

I lost my focus. I lost my straight-ahead gaze. I lost my eyes in the mirror. And I fell right out of my pose.

I laughed at myself and sent the Universe a silent message, “Message received. Back to the business at hand.”

I found my own eyes and I kept them there for the rest of class. (Okay once in awhile they veered to the VERY hot guy in the row behind me, but not for competitive purposes....)

Yoga Story #3

On the way out of class tonight I stopped at the shoe rack to grab my shoes and put on my coat. A bunch of thirty-somethings from the class were sitting there talking about running a half marathon and advising a woman doing her first not to run more than ten miles in training.

One of the guys turns to me and says, “You're wearing a marathon shirt, what do you think? How far did you train before you did the half?”

I paused and smiled to myself. Of course he assumed that I had gotten the shirt for doing the half. No one looks at me and thinks: marathon runner.

My Ego was tempted, but my post-yoga Higher Self was strong and I said, “I agree, you want to have something to strive for on the day. If you run the full thirteen before the race, the race can be kind of a let down. Good luck.”

And I walked out the door. I knew that I had run a full marathon and that was all that mattered.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

True Freedom

"The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day." 

--David Foster Wallace, from Rob Brezsny's Free Will Astrology newsletter

Woah! Is this a definition of parenting or what?

This is not the post I was preparing for today. The post I was preparing for today is one I have been writing and wrestling with for over a year. I just can't seem to get it right. 

But while sitting on my couch, surfing to avoid the inevitable working on this piece that just won't come together, I found this quote and it sang for me. 

At the same time I was being serenaded by my cat, mewling outside his cat door waiting to be let in.

I have had this cat since I was 24 years old, which makes him ANCIENT for a feline. He has lost most of his teeth, his fur is matted in places and he is a bit forgetful and VERY picky about what he eats. 

I spend a good part of every day letting him in and putting him out. Putting down food for him, which he rejects so I add a little water to it. He licks at it a bit and then looks up at me as if to say, "That's it?" So I add more water or open another can or rummage around in the fridge to see what "real food" I can find for him to try. 

Then he ambles into the bathroom for some water (he likes to drink out of the bathtub tap). He mewls furiously until I come into the bathroom and turn on the tap for him, which I do. He takes a couple of licks and then mewls again, looking up at me as if to say, "That's it?"

The thing is, half the time I have NO IDEA what he wants. Does he want warmer water? Colder water? A more powerful stream of water? Water in a bowl instead (which he has, of course, but never seems to touch)? 

I feel like I have tried all of the above and more, but he just never seems to be satisfied and his timing couldn't be worse. 

First thing in the morning, in the middle of the night, while I am furiously writing before the kids get up, as soon as we get home from wherever we have been and I have a million things to put away and dinner to make and kids to attend to....whenever I really don't have the time for him, there he is, mewling away for some unfathomable something that he wants or needs. 

It reminds me so clearly of what it was like to have a baby in the house that I almost have flashbacks. 

This is exactly the way I felt when parenting my first baby. Useless. Confused. Frustrated. Bothered. I had no idea what he really wanted and how to satisfy him so I did my best in between periods of "trying to get stuff done" to meet his endless needs, but there was no way to know for sure what he really wanted and how to give it to him so I spent a lot of my time feeling useless and frustrated. 

Even back then I had a feeling that true freedom did not mean doing exactly what you want to do in each moment, but rather choosing freely to do what needs to be done in each moment. This quote feels like confirmation from The Universe and encouragement to keep going, to keep working at it until that freedom comes.

Monday, April 18, 2011


"Anyone whose goal is 'something higher' must expect someday to suffer vertigo. What is vertigo? Fear of falling? No, Vertigo is something other than fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves." 

--Milan Kundera 

I came across this quote when searching for another Milan Kundera quote, which I may use later this week. It took me awhile to even understand it. I had to read it a couple of times, sleep on it and then read it again. 

Now that I have, I love it. 

I think this is an almost perfect description of what happens to us when our Ego is threatened. We perceive some kind of attack from the outside. Our Ego begins to fear for its life and fight back. We lash out, we run, we hide, we avoid; we use whatever coping mechanisms we have learned and/or have at our disposal in that moment. 

At the same time, on some level we long for this kind of attack - welcome it even - because we desperately want to let go of our Ego and dive back into the ethereal energy soup of light, love and Oneness even though it terrifies us. 

Lately I have been experimenting with "feeling my feelings" and it feels a little bit like Kundera's definition of vertigo. 

When a strong feeling comes over me - sadness, anger, even joy - my initial reaction is to shut it down, minimize it, make it smaller and thus more manageable. 

My coping mechanisms tend to fall into two categories: escape and projection. 

When I feel fear or anger come up I usually try and project it onto someone else. I yell at my kids or pick a fight with my husband. When it's sadness or insecurity I'm feeling I run and hide, escaping into a book or a movie or a fantasy life. 

Breaking these habits isn't easy, but the more I practice the more I find that when something with a strong emotional component is coming up for me, what I long for is meditation, to find a place of stillness and calm where I can just ride the wave. 

I lie down and just BREATHE - in and out - letting the emotions rise and fall like waves which I ride into the emptiness, finding that it is not so terrifying after all.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Freaky Friday

"When you're in a body, you just never know what kind of day it's going to be." 

Last Friday we were heading out of town to go clamming. I had a long list of things to do before we left and what I thought was JUST ENOUGH time to do them.  

As usual, The Universe had other plans.

This was my list:
  • drop the kids off at school
  • get shellfish license
  • go food shopping
  • finish packing
  • make pumpkin bread
  • get ready for work

And all of this had to happen between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm when I had to work.

Over breakfast that morning my husband suggested that perhaps this list was just a tad ambitious and that maybe, just maybe, I should revise my expectations a bit. Specifically he felt that "make pumpkin bread" needed to be removed.

At first I resisted, I had a PLAN - drop the kids at school, run home and get the car, drive to the sporting goods store near the grocery store and get the shellfish license, do a quick shop (30 minutes was my goal), run home and put the groceries away, make the pumpkin bread and while it's baking finish packing then get ready and leave for work by 12:30 - what could possibly go wrong???

The first part went well, dropped the kids off and then got the car and headed to the sporting goods store. This was where things started to fall apart.

I parked on the street and went to use one of those parking meters that prints you a little sticker to post on your window. The machine was not accepting debit cards. I put my debit card in multiple times and nothing.

I ran back to the car to scavenge for some change, to no avail. Once these machines became standard issue in our area I had stopped collecting change for parking in my car. I rarely keep change in my purse either, but I rummaged around and managed to come up with $.25, just enough for twelve minutes. It would have to do.

Things went smoothly at the sporting goods store until it was time to pay. I couldn't find my debit card. I looked and I looked and I looked, but it was not in my purse.

Had I left it in the machine? But that was impossible, the whole problem was that the machine wouldn't take my debit card. Still, I was convinced I had left it in the broken slot or worse, just dropped in on the ground.

Comforting myself with the fact that going into work later meant I could get it blocked and replaced right away, I pulled out my credit card, paid for the fishing license and ran to the parking machine to look for my debit card. Not there.

I looked in the car and on the ground around the car. Not there.

Finally I decided it must be in my purse so I started going through it systematically and - whew! - there was my debit card tucked in with my cash from when I had been searching for change.

Crisis averted. Time to move on to the next thing. There was still hope for the pumpkin bread at this point, but it was fading fast.

Drove to the store and pulled into the parking lot. There was my friend who works at the store gathering up grocery carts. Stopped to chat for a few minutes, knowing this was further depleting my pumpkin bread making time, but not wanting to give him short shrift because he is always so welcoming whenever he sees me.

Grabbed a cart and headed into the store. And there, walking into the store at the very same moment, was someone I used to know. 

This was not a relationship that had ended well; rather one that ended with harsh words, hurt feelings, and screeching tires.

We looked at each other, looked away, and looked back again.

"You're _______," I said, questioningly.

"You're _______," he replied, knowingly.

We chatted, caught up, I met his kids (they were charming and lovely) and we went our separate ways.

I was a little bit in shock. I had always imagined that one day I would run into this person, despite my having moved away from the town where we knew each other many years ago. I just had a feeling....but still it was startling to have it actually happen, and especially on this day when I was trying to get. Everything. Done.

After that I gave up on the pumpkin bread and just wandered around the store processing this blast from the past.

I was also texting a friend of mine from that time (the friend who I had just gone to Paris with) who was kind enough to share my shock over this unexpected encounter.

As I stepped up to the refrigerator section I heard the "ting" indicating a new text. I looked behind me to make sure no one was waiting and pulled out my phone to take a look.

I started punching out a quick response (less than six words) and all of a sudden I heard someone say, "Move it!"

I turn around to see a middle-aged woman (a little more middle aged that me) standing there reaching for something over my shoulder.

"Excuse me?" I said.

"Don't just stand there TEXTING, getting in everyone's way," she replied in a voice so full of hate you would have thought I had just smacked her across the face.

"If you need me to move, all you have to do is ask politely," I responded in a voice purposely full of sweetness and light (the same voice I use when asking my kids to talk politely).

"Politely? When you're standing there TEXTING (every time she said the word 'texting' she made it sound like the F-bomb)? I don't think so."

"I'm still a human being," I said, still being uber-polite.

"No you're NOT," she spat back, "Not if you are standing there TEXTING while other people are trying to shop." And then she shooed me. Made a motion with her hand like you do to a fly or an animal who is about to poop on your rug. 

And that just lit me up.

I was livid. I was screaming obscenities at her and smacking her around the store in my head.

In real life I was frozen, unable to believe that someone would actually talk to another human being in a grocery store that way. With so much hatred, and so little compassion. (Because I fully admit that what I was doing - texting in the refrigerated section - was rude and a little bit selfish, but did she realize I had just run into an ex-boyfriend from a million years ago in the grocery store???).

And then mine kicked in. I didn't even have to do a forgiveness worksheet, I started going through the steps in my head right there in the store.

What happened? Lady was totally rude to me.

How do I feel about it? Enraged. 

What is she mirroring for me? There have been times when I have been rude to people in public when I was really angry or having a bad day. She is me. (Yikes!) 

What am I mirroring for her? Ah-h-h.....This is where it gets interesting. She is shooing me so that must be how she feels people treat her. She feels shooed by life, so she is shooing me. I tried to imagine all of the people who may have shooed her in the past: her mom, her best friend, her teacher, her husband, her boss, her co-workers.....and how bad that must feel.

I decided to forgive her as soon as I could (I was still feeling angry). 

I also called after her,"If that's the way you want to live your life!" It wasn't exactly the high road, but I hoped it was on the road to the high road. I wanted to convey to her somehow that I didn't condone her behavior, but that I saw her as a person in pain and I wanted things to go better than that for her. I hope she got the message.

Nope, it's not over yet......

I finished up my shopping and was heading to the checkout line and there is my old friend again, come to say good bye.

In a truly bizarre twist of fate he was coming to thank me for breaking up with him and forcing him to deal with his shit. Letting me know how our relationship had affected him in a way that was ultimately positive and that he was grateful for it. 

After the morning I'd had, it was nice to hear.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bread vs. Toast

"'Once bread becomes toast, it can never become bread again.' Today I saw that piece of wisdom scrawled on the wall of a cafe's restroom. I immediately thought of you. Metaphorically speaking, you're thinking about dropping some slices in the toaster, even though you're not actually ready to eat yet. If it were up to me, you would wait a while before transforming the bread into toast -- until your hunger got ratcheted up to a higher level. The problem is, if you make the toast now, it'll be unappetizing by the time your appetite reaches its optimum levels. That's why I suggest: Put the bread back in the bag. For the moment, refrain from toasting."

--Rob Brezsny, Free Will Astrology 

This is my horoscope for this week. Or, rather, it is my rising sign horoscope for this week. 

As I understand it, your sun sign (the horoscope which is based upon the day of your birth) is how you present to the world and your rising sign (the horoscope which is based upon the time and place of your birth on that day) is what you are like on the inside. 

My sun sign is Capricorn and my rising sign Aquarius, which totally makes sense to me. I definitely present as a practical, disciplined and reserved Capricorn to the world, but inside I am a friendly, loyal, and somewhat unconventional Aquarius. 

The older I get the more I feel like my inner Aquarius is trying to express itself. I always read both just so I know what is going on with both the inner me and the outer me that week. 

Sun sign or rising sign, Rob Brezsny always seems to nail it.

I love this horoscope. It is wise and insightful, while at the same time being playful and fun. 

"Refrain from toasting" has become my new mantra. It reminds me to stay in the moment. To enjoy what is happening NOW and not what I am looking forward to happening later, or wish would happen tomorrow, or am planning on happening next week. 

NOW is the bread, the future is the toast. Don't forget to enjoy the bread because you are not yet ready for the toast. The toast will come in it's own good time, but if you force it you may just end up with a piece of toast that is burnt or stale or for some other reason inedible. 

"Once bread becomes toast, it can never be bread again....Refrain from toasting."

Monday, April 11, 2011

Paris Redux

"There isn't Hell or Heaven, except in our resistance to life."

--Pema Chodron, The Wisdom of No Escape

"Resist NOTHING."

--The Universe to me on April 5, 2011 and April 1, 2005

My trip to Paris was lovely. It was everything I had hoped
it would be, and then some, which was a huge relief because my last couple trips to Paris were very disappointing. 

I realized on this trip how very lucky I am that the first few
times I went to Paris I went with French friends who showed me a Paris that very few tourists ever get to see. A Paris of openness and hospitality, fraternity and kindness. 
But I also realized how much my "solo" travel experiences were due to my resistance of life AS IT IS and not as I would like it to be. 

When I went back to Paris as an au pair I had a vision of what it was going to be like: I was going to learn French easily and instantly, I was going to dress and talk and carry my self like a sophisticated French woman easily and instantly, my French family and I were going to love each other easily and instantly. 
When none of these things materialized, I resisted fervently, until I couldn't resist anymore, and I went home. 

When I went back to Paris as a tourist I had a vision of what it was going to be like: Paris was going to welcome me back with open arms and say, "Hey, where have YOU been? We missed you!" I would speak perfect French despite years of neglect and we would have a five-day, movie-quality experience. 
When none of these things materialized, I resisted fervently, until I couldn't resist anymore and I ended up crying in the middle of a Parisian square. 

This time I took a different tack. My "plan" was to show up and see what happened (aka "Napoleon's Battle Plan;" see also "Napoleon's Battle Plan."). To see what Paris had to offer me this time and enjoy whatever that was. 
It worked like a charm. 

I was able to enjoy the beauty that Paris had to offer: the coffee, the cafes, the food, the wine, the art and the architecture, the easily navigable Metro, the gardens and the language. And I was able NOT to resist the frustrations: the ubiquitous dog shit, the "host" who showed up four hours late not only with no apology, but with an excuse that turned it into our fault, the withering looks from French women who found my American fashion sense (or perceived lack thereof) a personal affront that ruined their day, the sense that (particularly at rush hour) you are always in someone's way, the wait staff that just didn't want to deal with another American tourist butchering the French language. 

Since coming back, I have tried to apply this philosophy to my "real life," with some success. Whatever happens each day, whatever shows up, I just breathe into in and let it be, I don't resist and that seems to make all the difference in the world. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

With LOVE from Paris

It seemed like everywhere I went in Paris, I saw LOVE. 

There was love in the window of a chocolatier, an elementary school, and a kitchen shop, as part of a fountain, outside of an art museum and, of course, in all of the beautiful old churches. Even on the side of a construction site. 

Love to you, today and always!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Words of Wisdom

Today's photos are from Shakespeare and Company book store on the left bank in Paris. If you are a book-lover and you have never been, put it on your "to do" list. A must-see in this lifetime!

The first photo is the outside of the shop. 

The second photo is a message from the store's owner George Whitman, which reads as follows: "Some people call me the Don Quixote of the Latin Quarter because my head is so far up in the clouds that I can imagine all of us are angels up in Paradise. And instead of being a bonafide bookseller I am more like a frustrated novelist. Store has rooms like chapters in a novel and the fact is Tolstoi and Dostoyevfski are more real to me than my next door neighbors. And even stranger is the fact that before I was born Dostoyevski wrote the story of my life in a book called 'The Idiot' and ever since creating it I have been searching for the heroine a girl called Nastasia Filipovna. One hundred years ago my bookstore was a wine shop hidden from the Seine by an annex of the Hotel Dieu Hospital which has since been demolished and replaced by a garden. And further back in the year 1600 our building was a monastery called La Maison du Mustier. In Medieval times each monastery had a Frere Lampier whose duty was to light the lamps at nightfall. I have been doing this for fifty years now it is my daughter's turn. GW "

The third photo is the "step-up" into the main room of the bookstore and it inspires me every time I step upon it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

I am back from Paris, but finding myself not quite ready to write. While I get my feet back on the ground and food back in the fridge, enjoy some photos from Paris....

Today the theme is PEACE and includes a photo of the Eiffel Tower taken through the peace monument on the Champs de Mars....a screen shot of a War/Peace video display at the Arc de Triomphe....and The Peace Cafe.

A bientot!

Friday, April 1, 2011

One of my first...

"...[A]nd then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."